Most people are unaware that as much as 75 percent of the population is suffering from chronic dehydration. This is perhaps because the symptoms of dehydration mimic so many other diseases and health problems.
Water Is Life
Some of the most common symptoms of chronic dehydration are:
If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times; Drink more water. This saying gets repeated so often that most people simply tune it out, but you shouldn't. When you think about all the life giving properties water gives us, it only makes sense that we should give the body all the water that it needs.
You probably think that it's not rocket science, right? You feel thirsty, you drink some water. Did you know, however, that by the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated?
It's shocking, actually, when you find out just how important it is to stay hydrated. Let's take a quick look at what staying hydrated can do for you.
Drink at least a half a liter of plain water about 30 minutes before you plan to eat
You might think that drinking water whenever you feel like it will do the job, but did you know that there is actually a particular time of day when you really need to drink water?
Although we like to think of ourselves as our brains and sparkling personality, the truth is, we are nothing without our digestive system. If we cannot eat or digest food properly, nothing in our bodies, including our brains, will work. Almost all of our internal organs are designed for the digestion of food.
The minute we start thinking about food, our bodies get ready to receive it. The stomach starts to make some gastric juices, the pancreas sends a little spurt of insulin, the mouth starts to salivate, and preparing to break down that food you are thinking about.
The problem arises when we don't have enough water in the body to run all these systems. Every single cell, every single function in the body, needs water to operate, and plenty of it!
Your stomach is lined with very special cells which prevent it from being burned by the very acidic gastric juices it needs to digest food. This lining of mucus is made up of, you guessed it, water. Between 90 to 98 percent water, to be exact. This thin layer of mucus naturally creates its own source of sodium bicarbonate, which neutralizes the acid if it penetrates the layer.
Now imagine that the stomach cells cannot release enough water to keep that protective mucus layer in place. This is what leads to stomach ulcers and stomach upset. Your stomach will work on your meal anywhere between one and three hours, depending on what you consumed and how much. Finally, this broken down food, called chyme, will empty into the duodenum, which is the very first opening into the small intestine. Actually, it is your small intestine, not the stomach, which does the majority of work breaking down and absorbing the nutrients from the chyme. This process will take about another 24 hours.
It's fairly obvious from the above description how important water is, not only for maintaining the protective lining of the stomach, but for the intestines to break down food and deliver the nutrients that the body needs.
Drinking water during or after your meal is a good idea, of course, but it won't be enough to help the stomach build that protective mucus it needs before you start eating. It also won't be enough to lower the pH of the stomach, since water alone will not neutralize acid.
This is why you must drink at least a half a liter of plain water about 30 minutes before you plan to eat and not drink during or after a meal for at least two hours.
By drinking with your meals, or soon afterwards, you dilute the chyme, making it thin and watery.
Ensure you have adequate salt and potassium intake for correct hydration!
Let's take just a moment to talk about the importance of salt, potassium, and water in the body. No matter how much water a person might drink, if the body is low in sodium and potassium, the water will not stay in the body long enough to make much of a difference.
Salt's natural role is to regulate water in the body, keeping some water out of the cells. Potassium is what keeps water inside the cells so they can perform their function.
The perfect balance is to consume plenty of water, adding a bit of natural salt (not refined white salt, such as commercial table salt but unrefined natural salt like Himalayan Salt. We recommend Sherpa Pink Gourmet Himalayan Salt) to the diet, and eating plenty of potassium rich vegetables each day.
The best sources of natural potassium include:
You've probably heard the old "8 glasses of water a day", but that number should be considered a bare minimum. For most adults, a sufficient amount is more in the area of two liters each day. This does not include soda, juice, tea, or coffee. This can be in addition to the two liters of water, but not instead of or in place of. Although things like coffee and tea are water based, they are not the same thing as plain water.
Another good rule of thumb (since we aren't all the same size, correct?) is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water, up to one gallon per day.
For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, then you should be drinking about 100 ounces (3 liters) of water every single day.
It can be easy to forget exactly how much water you have consumed each day. To make this easier, try these tips: